The Laws of the Divine Providence
Man Should Act From Freedom According to Reason
Jesus answered them, Amen, amen, I say to you that everyone doing sin is the servant of sin. And the servant does not abide in the house forever; the Son abides forever. If then the Son sets you free, you shall certainly be free.
From Divine Providence
DP 96. Man has will from no other source than being able to will freely as if from himself; and to will freely as if from himself is from a faculty continually given him by the Lord that is called liberty. And man has understanding from no other source than being able to understand as if from himself whether a thing is in harmony with reason or not: and to understand whether a thing is in harmony with reason or not is from the other faculty continually given to man by the Lord that is called rationality. In man these two faculties are conjoined, like the will and the understanding, in this respect, that man has the ability to understand because he has the power to will; for willing is not possible apart from understanding; understanding is its consort or mate, without which it cannot exist. This is why along with the faculty called liberty the faculty called rationality is given; and why if you take away willing from understanding you understand nothing.
DP 97. Therefore it is [a law] of the Divine providence that man should act from freedom in accordance with reason. To act from freedom in accordance with reason, to act from liberty and rationality, and to act from the will and the understanding, are the same thing. But it is one thing to act from freedom in accordance with reason, or to act from liberty and rationality, and it is another thing to act from freedom itself in accordance with reason itself or to act from liberty itself and from rationality itself.
For a man who does evil from the love of evil and confirms that evil in himself, acts from freedom in accordance with reason; and yet his freedom is not in itself freedom, or freedom itself, but it is an infernal freedom that is in itself slavery; and his reason is not in itself reason, but is either a spurious or a false reason, or what is made to appear by confirmations to be reason. Nevertheless they are both of the Divine providence; for if the freedom to will evil, and to make it appear by confirmations to be in accordance with reason were taken away from the natural man, liberty and rationality, and will and understanding with them, would perish, and he would have no ability to be withdrawn from evils and reformed, and thus conjoined with the Lord and live forever. Consequently the Lord guards freedom in man, as man guards the pupil of his eye. And yet by means of freedom, the Lord continually withdraws man from evils; and so far as He is able to withdraw him by means of freedom, He implants what is good by means of freedom. Thus in the place of infernal freedom, the Lord gradually endows man with heavenly freedom.
Questions and Comments
- Can we have rationality without freedom?
- What would happen if we didn’t have rationality to go along with freedom or an understanding to go along with a will? Are there instances where we see what this might look like, such as intoxication, or mental illness?
- What is “liberty itself” and “rationality itself”?
- How is infernal freedom slavery, as it is stated in DP 97?
- DP 97 says that “the Lord guards freedom in man, as man guards the pupil of his eye.” Why is freedom so important to the Lord?
- Why is it a law of Divine Providence that man should act in freedom according to reason?
- Thinking ahead, what else in addition to freedom and rationality is necessary for the operation of Divine Providence?